New Initiative to Accelerate Corporate Action on Global Sustainability Challenges

Amid rising
global temperatures, population growth and resource constraints,
Ceres formed a collaboration today with Nike, the Skoll Foundation
and the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS),
the nation’s largest public pension fund, to use their collective
clout to urge the nation’s largest companies to move more quickly
to understand global sustainability risks and develop new business
models and solutions.

Announced today at the Clinton Global Initiative, the
collaboration catalyzes a powerful group of investors, corporate
leaders and other key market players to propel 1,000 companies to
embed sustainability factors into day-to-day decision-making,
including operations, product development and global supply

The initiative will include roundtables and forums in California
and other parts of the country with companies and investors. Much
of the activity will evolve around The 21st Century
Corporation: Ceres Roadmap for Sustainability
, a comprehensive
Ceres report that outlines the urgency, vision and competitive
advantages for companies to fully embrace sustainability and 20 key
expectations for achieving such a goal.

“There’s a vast gap between the challenges our global economy
faces and the small steps companies are taking to deal with them,”
said Ceres president Mindy Lubber, speaking today on a CGI panel,
Market-Based Solution for Protecting the Environment. “To
narrow this gap, we need deeper collaboration between investors,
companies and other economic players to accelerate environmental
and social solutions.”

“We expect our portfolio companies to do what is necessary to
position themselves to be successful in a sustainable economy,”
said CalPERS CEO Anne Stausboll, who is hosting a roundtable in
Sacramento later this fall. “Environmental and other sustainability
issues are core to business performance in the 21st Century. We
look forward to working closely with companies and other key
stakeholders to ensure they are focusing their attention on
sustainability risks and opportunities.”

“We believe that environmental sustainability is inextricably
linked to long-term economic growth,” added Skoll Foundation CEO
Sally Osberg. “The business sector has an opportunity to take a
leadership role on sustainability in a way that will enhance
profits while taking positive steps toward saving the planet, and
we are proud to partner with Ceres on this initiative.”

Today’s announcement comes as social and environmental risks
increasingly impact corporate bottom lines. Among the recent
examples are the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the disastrous
flooding in Pakistan and coal-mining tragedies in West Virginia and

Some companies have stepped up their responses to sustainability
threats like global water scarcity, climate change, workplace
safety and human rights. But broader and deeper actions are needed
given the colossal challenges.

“The poor decision-making that marked the BP and Massey
disasters show that companies aren’t prioritizing environmental and
social factors across all of their operations,” Lubber said.
“Short-term profit and myopic attitudes on long-term risk and
opportunity still rule the day. These attitudes and practices need
to change - not just among companies, but investors, too.”

The Ceres “21st Century Sustainable Corporation” report is a key
tool for integrating sustainability into the DNA of business - from
the boardroom, to copy rooms, and across entire supply chains. The
roundtables and forums will help drive companies to implement key
expectations outlined in the Roadmap, including:

  • Make energy efficiency and renewable energy the foundation for
    company operations;

  • Design and implement closed-loop systems so that air and
    wastewater emissions are eliminated and zero waste is

  • Require 75 percent of top tier suppliers to meet company
    sustainability performance standards;

  • Dedicate 50 percent of R&D investment to developing
    sustainability solutions;

  • Compensate and provide incentives for top executives and other
    employees to drive sustainability into the business.

The full report is available at href=””


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